Tommy Fleetwood successfully defends Abu Dhabi HSBC championship title

Tommy Fleetwood successfully defends Abu Dhabi HSBC championship title

"I didn't think it was easy but to finish with three in a row was better".

England's Tommy Fleetwood insists he is hungrier than ever after he made a winning start to the year by retaining his Abu Dhabi Championship title on Sunday. Fleetwood, who has identified putting as a professional weakness, holed out from 25ft and 35ft respectively at the 15th and 16th greens.

McIlroy, who returned to competitive golf after a 104-day absence this week, was just one shot off the lead after the third round, but he never quite found top gear in the final round as he mixed four birdies with two bogeys in his 70.

Rory McIlroy shakes hands with caddie Harry Diamond after finishing joint-third in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. "I didn't hit many good shots there but it's still nice to make a par on the last after the mess I made". Just trying to hang on, felt like I played solid.

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Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National a year ago, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

"Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coat-tails for most of the round, so really pleased; bogey-free 69 I can't really complain".

Fleetwood excelled in hard conditions, carding six birdies over the closing nine holes and drew praise from McIlroy, who simply said: "That was obscene". I wanted to do the right things, and whenever you win it is validation that you can do it. Keeping hold of it for another year is very nice,"said Fleetwood". "He had a great year last year and, as defending champion, to put that round of golf together out there today - I mean, 65 in those conditions and shooting six-under on the back nine when needed to - is seriously impressive. So I'm looking forward to next week in Dubai and obviously looking forward to the rest of the season". Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn, who also captained the EurAsia Cup team, will want Fleetwood in his team at Le Golf National, Paris when he lines up against a powerful United States team on September 28.

"My best golf is getting better and better and my worse golf is getting better as well". "I felt like I got a lot out of it, and yeah, I'm excited to get back at it again next week".

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